Valley students take part in a public safety expo

FRESNO, Calif.

A group of Valley high school students found out firsthand, by putting their skills to the test.

It looks like a real emergency situation. Firefighters suit up, strap on their helmets and rush off to help someone in need. But these are actually high school students learning what it's like to become a firefighter, police officer or paramedic.

More than 250 students from five area high schools gathered at Clovis East to demonstrate skills they've learned in their regional occupational courses and career pathway programs.

Criminal Justice Instructor Tony Sanders said, "That's what career tech and ROP is all about, taking that book smarts and applying it into the workforce and really getting kids ready for it. Not everyone is going to college, but we need people out in the workforce too so they're learning how to be out there in the workforce and be a contributing member of our society."

The campus was alive with activity. Students competed in a series of events including an obstacle course, 100 yard dash and a homicide investigation.

Clovis East senior Siuo Her described, "So this is a simple crime scene, basically someone got murdered here and there's a group that's investigating. It's a simple one so they just have to investigate it and know they have to process information through a lab."

They also had the opportunity to talk with representatives from local public safety agencies including Fresno, Clovis, Sanger and Hanford police departments - the U.S. Marshal's Office and the U.S. Marines.

Clovis High junior Aaron Connor said, "I've learned a lot of technique, skills so after high school and college I'm all set for when I go into forestry is my goal."

Connor said the expo was a great way to get a hands-on feel for firefighting. And after participating in a number of competitions with his peers - he's more certain than ever he's chosen the right career.

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